There are many pros and cons to foster care. So far, for me, the pros still outweigh the cons, but admittedly I tend to blog more about the cons.
As school begins and my children begin participating on sports teams again I am reminded of one of the biggest cons for me. I miss a lot of games and matches because I drive 4 hours a week and wait at my agency another 4 hours a week for Primo's visits. I have also missed my children's dance, acting and singing performances because of doctors appointments, social worker appointments and WIC appointments. Add in Primo's naps and almost never having a baby-sitter and I'm seriously down for the count.
When a family takes on foster care their world immediately revolves around their foster child/children. This is inevitable given the nature of foster care, and not a bad thing in and of itself. Finding a balance between your commitment to the foster care system and your commitment to the children in your home is difficult but paramount to your family's survival.
Foster care is a black hole with an insatiable appetite for your time, your energy, your focus, once you are sucked in the rock solid boundaries of your past crumble, your energy is zapped. Try as you may to focus on life as you knew it, the full life you had before foster care, it is impossible to reverse what you have seen and felt in the black hole.
Hmm...a bit dramatic, no? But this is how foster care feels to me some days. I am willing to dive into the unknown black hole, to fight the good fight, to save the world, blah blah blah...but how to get out? how to live like I lived before? And if I can't live like I lived before, how to let go of my old life and embrace the new life? How do I share focus, so that every child in my home feels important, loved and supported. How do I heap energy, love, time and focus (all the time documenting this for my agency) on one child and still have enough for the permanent members of my family?
After over a year of doing foster care I'm still having trouble finding my balance.